A repentant corrupt union boss-turned government witness has been called a ‘hero’ by the federal judge who presided over the case that brought down the coke-snorting Carpenters’ union boss Michael Forde. Now, after stealing millions from the union before deciding to help put Forde away for eleven years, James Murray is as free as a bird.
A corrupt contractor who turned government witness against one of the city’s biggest unions was praised Thursday and freed with no extra jail time.
James Murray fled to Ireland after being indicted for money laundering and cheating workers out of wages and benefits but returned to help prosecutors bring down union bigwigs.
“You made a decision to return to this country to fight the corruption by breaking the wall of silence,” Manhattan Federal Judge Kimba Wood told Murray.
Not everyone is please with Murray’s soft landing from justice though.
Union member Patrick Brennan said Murray was just looking out for himself.
“It’s the way the system works. He cut a deal,” Brennan said. “Every scared rat, what they do is cut a deal. Whoever cuts the first deal gets the best deal.”
After being indicted on federal charges in 2006 – for cheating carpenters out of wages and benefits and other crimes – Murray hightailed it to Ireland for three years.
Then he quietly slipped back into the country and began cooperating; it’s unclear what persuaded him to come back.
It is unknown whether Murray will be staying in the U.S. or returning to Ireland.